If we wanted to read these verses from only a logical & secular point of view, they would make perfect sense. It is not smart to fall into the hands of the drug dealer, who sells or experiments in out of the body ecstasies. And the young fool who falls victim to the prostitute, does not consider that her house inclineth unto death. The evil man and the strange woman are usually dealing additional problems, all of which would destroy their young prey.
But if we take the “wisdom” of verse 10 to the purpose intended by the Holy Spirit, we are forced to look at the evil man and the strange woman from a more spiritual perspective. If we understand that “wisdom” is a personification of the person of Christ, then these verses become an illustration of the effects of the gospel. Sure the physical effects are the same in the preservation of the saint of God possessed by this “wisdom.” But there are eternal and spiritual effects as well. “For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.”
Perhaps this scripture would be more appropriate for a Sunday morning gospel message than a devotional for prayer meeting, but the Lord is in control of every church service.
Let’s begin again with the entrance of wisdom.
“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul.” When the Math teacher tries to help us understand algebra or trigonometry, what part of us would he say he’s trying to reach? Would the History or English teacher generally say she is trying to improve our hearts or souls? Maybe in a roundabout way, the secular teacher might speak of “the heart,” but he is usually more interested in the mind.
This scripture – all scripture – has the heart and soul as its primary target – before touching the body. Regeneration is all about a new heart – salvation is about the spirit and soul. Sure the spiritual effects become visible in the outward life, but if there is no new heart, any outward reformation will be shallow and temporary. When Christ, the “wisdom of God,” enters into a heart, bringing divine knowledge with him, Satan, the wicked man, will loose the natural bond he had with us, & his influence against us will be greatly limited.
“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall PRESERVE thee, understanding shall keep thee.” When you ladies make preserves or when you can some of your fruits and vegetables, do you preserve things which are rotting or already rotten? The blessings of these verses belong to the child of God, no matter how young he might be. “Discretion shall preserve thee” – the Hebrew word “discretion” refers to a “plan.” It is the plan of God to preserve His saints – they are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Kept from whom and what? From every enemy that our soul has, beginning with our own weak and corrupted flesh.
Or as Solomon puts it – from the evil man and the strange woman.
“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths.”
Several times in these verses we read of “frowardness” – a word not often used in the 21st century. It refers to the equally rare word “perverse,” and it comes from another word speaking of “overthrowing.” Frowardness is rebellion, something which the natural heart is prone to do. “The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Only divine grace in salvation can keep the already forward heart from even more rebellion against God.
What do the enemies of our soul entice us to do? To explore, to experiment, to push the boundaries of uprightness and holiness. Our flesh, encouraged by the world and the Devil, wants to walk on the wild side – the dark side. Yes, I know my parents have forbidden me to try alcohol and marijuana. But the government says these things are legal, and almost everyone I know are trying them. I’ll just give them a try here in the darkness, where my parents can’t see it. What harm can there be in that? Part of the harm lays in sinning against wisdom and knowledge – against the Saviour and the Holy Spirit. They both say, Stay away from the crooked and rebellious/froward path. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.”
This evil woman may live down the street, or she may live inside your own heart. She was raised by good parents who gave her sound guidance in her youth. She may have gone to Sunday School in her childhood and even made a covenant with God. But now she has forsaken and forgotten those things. Now she flatters you, trying to draw you into her clutches like the Black Widow spider. “None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.”
Two people come to you in the same day, both saying that you look beautiful or pretty. One may say it because he believes it to be true, and you deserve the compliment. The other may do it to flatter you. What is the nature of flattery? What is flattery? Doesn’t flattery always have an additional purpose beyond the original words. It is never simply a nice compliment or it wouldn’t be flattery. In 1979, the Bellamy Brothers introduced a country song which illustrates evil flattery. It was entitled “If I said you have a beautiful body” – that might be a compliment or it might be flattery. The second line of the song reveals its evil intent – “If I said you have a beautiful body would you hold it against me?”
There is a voice in every human heart – even that of the Christian – which tells its owner that he/she is smarter, stronger, more beautiful than is actually true. “Yea, hath God said, thou shalt surely die? Thous shalt not surely die.” “Don’t believe God; believe what I am telling you.” “None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.”
“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;”
“Thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.” WALKING in the way of good men and KEEPING righteous paths are both excellent things. But even greater is DWELLING and REMAINING in the land of God. Only the upright and up-righteous shall see God., The Father’s house has been prepared only for those in whom Christ, our righteousness and wisdom, abides.
“But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.” “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” “And there shall in no wise enter into (God’s holy city) any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”